October 5, 2022

Use of production music in broadcast cable TV reaches new heights: study

According to a new study by music data company BMAT, nearly half of all music played on US television and cable channels is production music.

The survey, commissioned by the Production Music Association, covered 47 major channels, including broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW; and cable channels including A&E, CNN, Discovery, Disney, ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, HGTV, Lifetime, MTV, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, TBS, Telemundo, Univision, and USA. Pay cable and streaming services not supported by advertisers were not included.

The survey, conducted in February and March this year, indicated that music was used in 39% of total airtime and that 46% of that music came from music production companies or music libraries.

Production music, formerly known as “stock music”, is composed specifically for use in media productions, usually as part of a catalog of music made available for immediate licensing, and where the publisher and record owner are the same. It may be written specifically for a series but unlike conventional notation, it is generally not suited to specific scenes.

Other findings included: music used in commercials, promotions and trailers accounted for 20% of the total when music was present; production music is used 6.5 times more than commercial music on broadcast and cable; and that commercial music accounts for only 7% of total usage.

Interestingly, the highest numbers of music usage were in lifestyle, documentary and reality channels like Investigation Discovery (present in 67% of all airtime), Oxygen True Crime (61% ), Food Network (60%), Outdoor Channel (58%) and TruTV (55%).

The trend reversed for channels broadcasting mainly news and talk shows. Among the channels where music was used the least were MSNBC (no music present 90% of the time), Fox News (88%), BET (81%) and CNBC (80%).

Commercial music (i.e. commercially available tracks that were not originally written for the programs) accounted for only 7% of the total music played, with the remaining 47% being labeled as “unclassified”, including commissioned music, film and television scores, and owned catalogs. by broadcasters.

Production music was deemed “highly predominant” on lifestyle, reality and sports channels, including Outdoor Channel (75%), Magnolia Network (68%), ESPN (66%), NFL Network) ( 63%) and Food Network (60%) .

“The BMAT study is a powerful demonstration of the value and importance of production music to the television and advertising industries,” said Adam Taylor, president of APM Music and president of Production Music. Association. “Production music is specifically written in service of the moving image, and it’s clear that our music plays a vital role in the success of modern programming.”

Morgan McKnight, Executive Director of the PMA, added: “The results of this survey confirm that production music is the primary source of music streamed and cabled, accounting for almost half of all music usage. This study firmly establishes our industry as an integral part of the media landscape, while confirming what we have intuitively known for years.

Joe Saba, co-founder of VideoHelper and vice president of the PMA, noted that “the creative level of libraries has increased dramatically over the past decade, becoming one of the reasons why so many of the most successful people in the world choose production music.On the technology side, production music has led the way in many areas, including YouTube monetization, music search, digital music discovery, and even music-based categorization. on AI.

PMA executives said they plan to continue this study on an annual basis, tracking production music usage regularly.